Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced during his visit to the city of Stolberg near Aachen, which was badly affected by the flood, that it would need a “much larger amount” than the flood in 2013.

The fact that it will be a good five times as large is still an exclamation point.

The federal and state governments have raised almost six billion euros for the reconstruction of East Germany, and 30 billion euros are now expected.

What is particularly astonishing is the large difference to the sum of the insured losses, because there is not that much difference in the two flood disasters. While the insurance industry had put a loss of 4.65 billion euros from the floods on the Elbe and Oder, the first estimate is now 4 to 5 billion. This can also be seen on a small scale on site: the LEG housing company, which has a good 200 affected apartments, mainly in the Ahr region, is providing 1 million euros for clearing work, especially for those tenants who do not have household insurance. And there are obviously quite a few. The costs that the company incurs as a result of repairs, replacement accommodation or loss of rent, on the other hand, are almost entirely covered by the elementary insurance.

The lavish aid pledges from the state should not increase the willingness to take out insurance. But a look at the areas affected by the flood, even weeks after the heavy rain, shows why the discussion about compulsory insurance for natural hazards ignores the concerns of residents. On the Ahr, unfiltered wastewater still flows directly into the river because not all sewage treatment plants are operational. Bridges were made makeshift by the technical relief organization, parts of the motorways 1 and 61 are completely closed. The energy supplier Eon expects that in many places it will take a good 18 months before some customers have an apartment again. The flood disaster blew up all risk models - it is only logical that coping with it goes beyond anything known.